Family Life With COVID-19

Posted May 21, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life and Family

Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve added many new words and phrases to my vocabulary in the last few months.

COVID-19, Coronavirus, Flattening the Curve, Community Spread, Stay-At-Home Advisory, Safer at Home, Social Distancing, the New Normal…

These are not words or phrases I choose to make a part of my everyday conversation. I’m tired of hearing them.

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My husband and I follow the rules and do what we need do to keep healthy — Clorox® Wipes and masks are new items in our household. I’d love to have color-coordinated masks like Nancy Pelosi wears, but my COVID outfit is old blue jeans. I guess my masks would always have some hue of blue. Never mind.

The whole pandemic is so overwhelming and exhausting! After three months of being cooped up with each other, away from our family, friends, and people in general, my husband and I decided it was time to see our daughter, son-in-law, and three little granddaughters. We loaded up my van with Easter gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, a Father’s Day wheelbarrow, gardening tools and equipment, plants, and, yes — toilet paper.

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Off we went, making sure we drove safely, kept our vehicle distance, and stayed away from the crazies on the road. I texted my daughter to tell her we were almost there. As we drove up the driveway, this is what we saw.

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Our sweet family was in the front yard waving to us. A beautiful sight to behold! We kept our social distance, blew kisses from behind our masks and gave everyone long-distance hugs. We unpacked the van and then were ushered into the living room which was gated off from the family room. Besides the gifts we had, I also brought some books to read to the girls who were eager to hear them.

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Notice the Clorox® wipes and mask next to me and the two four-year-olds in front of me. The two-year-old wanted to cross the boundary line and come and sit with me. When I told her she couldn’t, she put on her oh-so-cute Shirley Temple pout and disappeared.

We had conversations, snacks, and exchanged long overdue gifts — goodies for the girls and a book of Family Holiday Traditons I have been working on for my daughter — plus that wheelbarrow for Father’s Day.

 Specially made gifts for us…

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A masterpiece for our refrigerator.

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A teacup fairy garden made by my daughter and all the girls, using natural materials found in their yard.

When it was time to go, we once again blew kisses from behind our masks and gave everyone long-distance hugs. We got into our empty van. A couple of tears slipped down my cheeks as we headed home. Okay, it was more than a couple of tears. Where are the tissues when you need them? If this is the new normal, I don’t like it one bit!

I look forward to better days when we can breathe in fresh air without masks strapped across our faces. More importantly, I want to be able to reach out and touch someone without being afraid of contracting or passing along a deadly virus. I want to freely hug, kiss, and cuddle my loved ones once again!

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Brown Sugar Babe – A Delicious Picture Book

Posted May 14, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Books

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Brown Sugar Babe is written by Charlotte Watson Sherman and illustrated by Akem, Boyds Mills Press, 2020.

This is a beautiful story of a small child who doesn’t like the color of her brown skin. “I’m pink.” She declares. The lyrical text flows throughout the story as the child’s mother tries to convince her “brown sugar babe” to embrace all the wonderful attributes of the color brown. The author, Charlotte Watson Sherman, uses a variety of techniques to tell her story. Metaphors  “…your hair, a crown of brown curls…” Comparisons:  “Brown is silent—  a raisin crinkling in the sun…” Rhyme:  “Bubbling brown sugar babe, honeyed and bright as marmalade.” Akem‘s magical illustrations are lush with rich earth tones of brown, yellow, red, and orange in double-page spreads.  Brown Sugar Babe is a delicious story of a mother’s love and a child’s acceptance that makes for a tasty read aloud to be shared again and again.

 

 

 

National No Socks Day!

Posted May 7, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

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Did you know that May 8th is National No Socks Day?

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It’s great that we have socks, but they can be a real pain. They end up with holes. They get lost in washers. They pair up with a mismatch. They get lost in dryers. They are smelly. They like to hide in sheets. They cling to shirts. And there’s always that sock that is permanently missing from the sock drawer.

So, get ready to toss those socks away tomorrow. Give your little piggies room to wiggle and breathe the fresh air!

When you’re finished getting your socks in order, here are some sock books to share with your little ones.

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One Red Sock 

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A Pig, A Fox, And Stinky Socks

LIttle sock

Little Sock

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Goldy the Puppy and the Missing Socks 

And don’t forget…

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Fox in Socks

 

 

Let Your Spirits Soar!

Posted April 30, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

Tags: , ,

During this unusual time in which we’re living, I thought I’d post something light and uplifting. So, in honor of the end of Poetry Month and the beginning of May, I give you…

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May is pretty, May is mild,

Dances like a happy child;

Sing out, robin; spring out, flowers;

April went with all her showers,

And the world is green again;

Come out, children to the glen,

To the meadows, to the wood,

For the earth is clean and good

And the sky is clear and blue,

And bright May is calling you!

May is pretty, May is mild,

Dances like a happy child,

On a blessed holiday,

Come out, children, join the play!

~ Annette Wynne

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Have a beautiful May Day!

A Tale of Witchcraft

Posted April 23, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Middle-grade Books, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , ,

I love picture books and often review and recommend them on this blog. When one of my critique partners from the Writers’ Rumpus Group asked if anyone would like to review an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of his forthcoming middle-grade novel, I agreed to read it and write a review. It is not my usual genre, but I must say, I was hooked after the first chapter!

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WITCHES OF WILLOW COVE has it all – teen angst, romance, jealousy, betrayal, mystery, and witchcraft. It’s written by Josh Roberts and takes place in a small Massachusetts town that dates back to the time of the Salem witch trials. Middle schoolers Abby and Robby are best friends who live next door to each other. On Halloween night, which also happens to be Abby’s thirteenth birthday, the two of them decide to explore an abandoned mental hospital at the top of Whispering Hill. It’s there that Abby and Robby are caught up in unearthly experience. Later, Abby comes to the realization that she and five other girls in her class are witches. Miss Winters, their substitute teacher, and witch, becomes their mentor. Abby begins to spend time with the five girls, and she keeps secrets from Robby which causes a rift in their longtime friendship. Robby, his friend Zeus, and his girlfriend Becca know there is something mysterious going on. The three of them band together to unravel the truth about Miss Winters. In the end, it takes a clever plan devised by Robby, Becca, and Zeus with the combined efforts of Abby and the five young witches, using their witchcraft to destroy the evil resurrected in the town of Willow Cove. Josh Roberts masterfully weaves a spine-tingling tale of witches and witchcraft with plot twists and unexpected events that will keep readers spellbound from beginning to end.

 

National Poetry Month

Posted April 16, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: National Poetry Month

Tags: , ,

“I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creations of Beauty.” ~Edgar Allan Poe

Happy National Poetry Month!

Poetry can make you laugh. It can make you cry. It can provide solace. Poetry is a magical language that has the ability to touch the heart and soul.

There are many different forms of poetry — acrostic, ballad, cinquain, concrete, free verse, haiku, limerick, lyrical, ode, sonnet, and tanka to name a few. Each form offers a different way of expressing thoughts and emotions. Poetry is universal.

Behold, I give you my Book Spine Poetry.

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As a former teacher/librarian, I found this book to be an excellent resource.

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R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet written by Judy Young and illustrated by Victor Juhasz, Sleeping Bear Press.

My advice:  Find a poetry book. Sit down, relax, and enjoy the language of poems today and every day!

 

 

Life During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted April 9, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Laughter, Life

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

During this COVID-19 crisis, many lives have been turned upside down. My husband and I are at home, sheltering in place. We have never been closer – maybe too close. For now, creativity is of utmost importance to keep a calm household.Oatmeal clipart cereal fruit, Oatmeal cereal fruit Transparent ... Our typical day begins with oatmeal, fruit, and coffee. On the weekends we spice it up with eggs, fruit, and coffee. The thought of it makes my mouth water. Yummy in the tummy? NO! I call it the Boring Breakfast Menu! As soon as our breakfast is finished, my husband wants to know, “What’s for dinner?” In the back of my mind I’m screaming, Really? We just had breakfast! I calmly look at him and say, “It’s a surprise .”

Senior couple walking clipart. Free download. | Creazilla

In the middle of the day, we get some exercise walking around the neighborhood and keeping our allotted social distance from other walkers. Sometimes we go this way. Sometimes we go that way. Sometimes we walk in circles. If not walking, we’re washing our hands and sanitizing the house from top to bottom so it smells like industrial-strength Clorox.® Then we’re on our computers. I’m writing or blogging with ultra-clean hands, and my husband is watching our investments go up and down like a yo-yo. Best Television Clip Art #537 - Clipartion.com

After our surprise gourmet dinner, we settle on the couch to take in some television entertainment. Even though we have endless channels available, we can’t decide what to watch.

Our conversation goes something like this as we pass the remote between us.

“You choose.”

“No, you choose.”

“You choose.”

My choice is always the Hallmark channel, but that was recently banned in our household. For the past few years, my husband has patiently watched every new Hallmark movie. So, if I click on a rerun, he groans and, miraculously, a new channel appears on the screen. Our tastes are a bit different. Documentaries about flying insects are not at the top of my list. Sigh!

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The next day is the same as the last one. I feel like I have the starring role in the movie Groundhog Day, reliving the same day over and over. Or I’m a member of the crew from Muppet Treasure Island, and I’ve got… “Cabin Fever.”  

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How long this seclusion will last is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, my husband and I take the best medicine available  —- no, not alcohol — laughter. It’s the love that binds up together!

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Coronavirus is serious. Take care of one another and follow the rules of shelter-in-place. We are strong. We will get through this. Lift up your spirits — laugh and hold your loved ones close. (I hope you have six-foot arms!)

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